Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat. Image: Unsplash/Bethany Legg
Explore and monitor how European Union is affecting economies, industries and global issues
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:
Listen to the article
- Hospitality and travel industry jobs have seen the biggest rise in the EU in the past year, according to new statistics.
- The relaxation of many COVID-19 restrictions is likely to have played a part in this growth.
- But roles such as data analysts and scientists, as well as AI and robotics specialists, are increasingly in demand as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gets under way.
Europe’s economy has been battered by some serious headwinds in recent years, but unemployment rates have not been hit as hard, according to new figures.
COVID-19 put a sizeable dent into the bloc’s growth, with GDP falling by almost 6% in 2020 from the year before, according to EU statistics office Eurostat. Russia’s war on Ukraine has since threatened energy supplies and fuelled inflation levels not seen for decades.
Despite this, the EU economy grew by a seasonally adjusted 4% year on year in the second quarter of 2022, defying fears that it may go into recession. And Eurozone unemployment held stable month on month at 6.6% in June, according to Eurostat. It was down by 1.3% from the same time last year as people return to work following pandemic restrictions.
Unemployment is highest in Spain and Greece at more than 12%. Joblessness in the Czech Republic is the lowest in the EU at 2.4%.
Hospitality and travel drive EU jobs growth
Jobs in hospitality and travel are growing fastest in the 27 member bloc, according to Eurostat. The biggest rise has been in food preparation assistants, growing by just over 25%, from nearly 1.1 million to almost 1.4 million workers.
Next on the list are what are described as “personal service workers”. This includes roles in the travel industry, such as attendants and guides, as well as cooks, waiters and bartenders in the hospitality sector. There has been a 15.6% rise in the number of people working in these areas, taking it to 7.6 million.
People socializing and travelling again after the end of COVID-19 restrictions is likely to have played a part in this growth.
Roles in information and communications technology came in third place, rising by 9.6% to 4.5 million people. This group includes people working in areas such as software and app development.
The biggest decrease in job numbers came in agricultural, forestry and fishery work, with a drop of 12.6%.
‘The Great Reshuffle’
New McKinsey research provides some context on the global post-pandemic labour market. It says 40% of workers are considering moving jobs, with lockdowns having given them time to reflect on their life priorities.
This thinking time could be why workers aren’t just moving to do the same thing elsewhere. Nearly half of those surveyed are heading to different industries.
Many are also moving to temporary or part-time roles in the gig economy. This may explain the marked growth in hospitality-related jobs in the Eurozone.
How is the World Economic Forum improving working conditions in the gig economy?
The McKinsey research also provides further evidence that workers with sought-after skills – such as data scientists and programmers – are more likely to find changing jobs easier.
The future of work
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report says many more new job roles will emerge in the near future. Around 97 million positions suited to a division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms may appear as soon as 2025, it says.
Roles that are increasingly in demand include data analysts and scientists, and AI and robotics specialists, the Forum says – a trend borne out by the latest EU job statistics.
The report adds that although 85 million jobs may be displaced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this disruption will be counterbalanced by the job creation in new fields.
Don't miss any update on this topic
Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.
License and Republishing
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
More on European UnionSee all
February 8, 2024
Mirek Dušek and Andrew Caruana Galizia
January 17, 2024
Mirek Dušek and Louise Thompson
January 13, 2024
January 9, 2024